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Stories for January 2015

Released Friday, Jan. 2

Live as children of God, not slaves to sin, Pope preaches at year’s end

On the evening of December 31, Pope Francis asked those assembled in St. Peter’s Basilica whether they are choosing to live as free children of God or as slaves to sin. “We were estranged from...

Papal message for 450th anniversary of Rio de Janeiro

Pope Francis has sent a video message to the Brazilian people on the 450th anniversary of the founding of Rio de Janeiro, the nation’s second-largest city. Recalling the city’s famed statue of...

Pope Francis: Christ is inseparable from Mary and from the Church

Preaching at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on January 1, the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God and the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis emphasized that Christ is inseparable from Mary and from the...

Gaze upon Mary, recall the wonder of divine adoption, Pope tells faithful

During his January 1 Angelus address, Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square that “it is impossible to separate contemplation of Jesus, the Word of life who is made visible and...

Mario Cuomo dead at 82

Mario Cuomo, who served as governor of New York from 1983 to 1994, died at the age of 82 on January 1, as his son Andrew began his second term as the state’s governor. Described by his Associated...

Court rules against Catholic firefighters ordered to drive in gay pride parade

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has ruled that the constitutional rights of two Catholic firefighters were not violated when they were ordered to drive a fire truck in a gay pride parade. The...

Canada declares April 2 ‘Pope John Paul II Day’

Following a 44-26 senate vote, Canada has designated April 2, the anniversary of St. John Paul II’s death, as “Pope John Paul II Day.” The vote was preceded by an impassioned December 15 appeal...

Decline continues in number of US abortion centers

The number of abortion centers in the US has dropped by 23% in the past 5 years, the National Catholic Register reports, citing figures from Operation Rescue. In the past year, 73 American...

Vatican may bring criminal charges after man climbs onto roof of St. Peter's for 5th time

A Vatican prosecutor plans to bring criminal charges against an Italian man who has repeatedly climbed out onto the roof of St. Peter’s basilica in an effort to publicize his complaints about...

Released Monday, Jan. 5

Pope Francis names 20 new cardinals

Following his Angelus address on January 4, Pope Francis announced the names of 20 prelates who will become cardinals on February 14. “On Sunday, February 15, I will preside at a solemn...

Pope renews call for peace

During his January 4 Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis reflected on the causes of division and issued a renewed appeal for peace. Reflecting on texts from St. John’s Gospel, the...

Turkey permits 1st new church in 90 years

For the first time since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey has permitted the construction of a Christian church, Agence France-Presse reported. The Syriac church will be located in a...

20 Christians kidnapped in Libya

Members of the Ansar al-Sharia militia kidnapped 20 Egyptian Christians in the coastal Libyan city of Sirte, according to a report by Saudi-based Arab News. Ansar al-Sharia, which means...

‘3 rules for preaching like Pope Francis’

L’Osservatore Romano has republished “three rules for preaching like Pope Francis,” a blog post by Sister Mary Ann Walsh of America magazine. “Looking over Pope Francis’ pontificate so far, I...

Cologne cathedral to show displeasure with march against Muslim immigration

Cologne’s cathedral will turn off its lights on the evening of January 5 in a manifestation of displeasure at a protest march planned by Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the...

Priest in Rome arrested on sex-abuse charge from Argentina

An Argentine priest has been arrested in Rome on sex-abuse charges. The priest, who has been serving in a Roman parish, was detained by Italian police on the basis of a charge in his native...

Italian president applauds Pope's call for action against human trafficking

Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano has written to Pope Francis calling for an “unflinching” battle against human trafficking. Napolitano wrote in response to the Pope’s call for an end to...

Christians again dominate US Congress

In the 114th US Congress, which will convene this week, 92% of the members identify themselves as Christian, and 31% as Catholic. A Pew Research study finds that of the 301 Republican members of...

Cautionary note on 'Healing of Families' book, seminars

The Kentucky-based Fathers of Mercy have issued a cautionary statement about a controversial book: The Healing of Families, by Father Yozefu-B. Ssemakula. The Fathers of Mercy, who specialize in...

Sri Lanka: Church hopes papal visit will spur work of reconciliation after bloody civil war

The Catholic minority in Sri Lanka hopes that a visit by Pope Francis, which will take place January 12-15, will promote reconciliation in a country still scarred by a long civil war. More than...

Released Tuesday, Jan. 6

Holy Land: US diplomat visits convent at center of Cremisan Valley dispute

Michael Ratney, the US consul general in Jerusalem, visited the Salesian convent in the Cremisan Valley on January 2 “to understand the land’s significance,” according to a Twitter post from the...

New cardinal profile: Archbishop Dominique Mamberti

Topping the list of new cardinals announced by Pope Francis on January 4 is Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, 62, the newly appointed prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic...

Cardinal Marx warns against threats to human life

In his New Year’s Eve homily, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, president of the German bishops’ conference, warned against threats to human life. Stating that “one cannot buy life” and that...

Pray, advocate for protection of migrants, says USCCB committee chair

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration called upon Catholics to pray for, and advocate on behalf of, the protection of migrants. “Migrants--...

Florida bishops react to same-sex marriage

Florida’s bishops said that a federal judge’s decision to overturn a state constitutional amendment and impose same-sex marriage “threatens both religious liberty and the freedom of individuals to...

Pope Francis: may we, like the Magi, overcome temptations and find Jesus

The Magi, who “represent men and woman who seek God in the world’s religions and philosophies,” encountered “many difficulties” before finding Jesus Christ, Pope Francis said in his Epiphany homily...

Pope Francis 'likely' to visit DC, New York on 2015 trip

Pope Francis is likely to add New York and Washington, DC to his itinerary when he visits the US in September, according to the Vatican’s Secretary of State. The Pope has already announced his...

Rhode Island bishop declines invitation to attend inauguration of pro-abortion governor

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, has declined an invitation to participate in the inauguration of incoming Governor Gina Raimondo, citing the politician’s support for legal...

Vatican raffling off papal items in charity fundraiser

A raffle of items owned by Pope Francis, organized to raise money for charity, will end on Thursday, January 7. For weeks the Vatican has been selling raffle tickets for a variety of items, most...

Released Wednesday, Jan. 7

Epiphany manifests God’s desire for the salvation of all, says Pope

The feast of the Epiphany reveals the truth that God desires to save all people, and not just one people, Pope Francis said in his January 6 Angelus address. God’s love, he continued, is...

USCCB announces novena for life around Roe anniversary

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced that a novena for life will take place from January 17 to 25, around the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. “Pope...

Myanmar: newly appointed cardinal warns against Buddhist extremism

Cardinal-designate Charles Maung Bo of Myanmar (Burma) warned that hate speech by the nation’s influential Buddhist monks against the Muslim minority could trigger a backlash by Islamist...

Florida: Indian priest arrested on child pornography charges

A month after he began ministry as a parochial vicar in the Diocese of Palm Beach, a Franciscan priest from India has been arrested on pornography charges. After Sunday Mass on January 4, Father...

Papal tribute to motherhood at general audience

Continuing his catechesis on the family, Pope Francis devoted his January 7 general audience to motherhood. Noting that no Christian is an orphan because the Church is our mother, the Pontiff...

Vatican, French bishops decry terror attack in Paris

Both the Vatican and the French bishops’ conference have issued statements condemning a terrorist attack on a Parisian publication. The attack by Islamic terrorists on the office of Charlie...

US labor secretary: minimum-wage increase is biblical issue

The Obama administration's drive to raise the minimum wage is "really about biblical teaching," the Secretary of Labor claims. Tom Perez told a Washington audience: "This is about what is taught...

Vatican reports on efforts against Ebola

The Vatican has extended financial support to the Catholic communities in western Africa to aid the fight against the Ebola epidemic. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has released a...

Miami archbishop warns Church employees against public support for same-sex marriage

Reacting to the court-ordered recognition of same-sex marriage in the state of Florida, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami has reminded Church employees that they should avoid public support for a...

Released Thursday, Jan. 8

Pope Francis: ‘strongest condemnation’ for Paris terror attack

Pope Francis has expressed “the strongest condemnation for the horrific attack that marred the city of Paris” on January 7, an attack notable for “sowing death, throwing into dismay the whole of...

In first, Egypt’s president attends Christmas Mass

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has become the first Egyptian president to attend Christmas Mass. As he entered the Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Cairo for his unannounced visit, those in attendance cheered,...

Victory for Michigan company against HHS mandate

A federal district court has permanently barred enforcement of the HHS mandate against Autocam Medical, a medical-device manufacturer owned by a Catholic family. The judge had ruled against the...

Cardinal Parolin: rise in US priestly vocations a sign of ‘great hope’

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, blessed a new 10-story building at the Pontifical North American College on January 6 and celebrated Mass there for the feast of the...

Persecution of Christians reaches ‘historic levels,’ says group

Open Doors, a Protestant organization that advocates on behalf of persecuted Christians, has released its annual report and found that “while the year 2014 will go down in history for having the...

Pope appoints new secretary of Congregation for the Clergy

Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Joël Mercier, a French priest, as the new secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy and has elevated him to the dignity of an archbishop. Born in 1945, the...

New cardinal profile: Patriarch Manuel Clemente

Second on the list of new cardinals announced by Pope Francis on January 4 is Patriarch Manuel José Macário do Nascimento Clemente, 66. The Lisbon prelate is one of the Church’s few Latin-rite...

French Muslim leaders join Vatican in denouncing killing of Parisian editors

Four French Islamic leaders have joined with Catholic prelates in a statement condemning the murderous assault on the offices of Charlie Hebdo. The statement, released on January 8 by the...

Former Vatican bank chairman defends his record, criticizes Cardinal Bertone

The former chairman of the Vatican bank has defended his leadership and charged that other Vatican officials thwarted his plans for reform, in an article for England’s Catholic Herald. Ettore...

'Unbroken' screened at Vatican

American filmmaker Angelina Jolie screened her new movie, Unbroken, at the Vatican on January 8, and met briefly with Pope Francis. Unbroken, which opened in American theaters on Christmas Day,...

Florida bishop seeks respectful dialogue on marriage

Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, has urged respectful dialogue on the nature of marriage, in the wake of the state’s court-ordered recognition of same-sex unions. In a column...

Yezidi leaders meet with Pope Francis

Pope Francis met on January 8 with representatives of Iraq’s Yezidi minority, which has faced brutal persecution by the Islamic State. The leader of the world’s Yezidi community, Mir Tahsin Said...

Released Friday, Jan. 9

Policemen murdered in front of Catholic church in Egypt

Two policemen who were assigned the task of guarding a Coptic Catholic parish in Egypt were shot to death on January 6, according to Egyptian media reports. The incident took place in Minya, a...

US, European prelates to visit Holy Land

Fifteen bishops from Europe, the United States, and South Africa are making a “visit to the peripheries of the Holy Land” from January 10 to 15, according to the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences...

Cardinal Burke on manhood, the sacred liturgy, and the abuse crisis

In an interview with the New Emangelization Project blog, Cardinal Raymond Burke reflected on manhood, family life, the sacred liturgy, catechesis, the abuse crisis, and the “very feminized”...

Atlanta ousts fire chief who criticized homosexual acts

Kelvin Cochran, who served as US Fire Administrator during President Barack Obama’s first term, has been fired as Atlanta’s fire chief after he criticized homosexual acts in a men’s Bible study book...

New cardinal profile: Archbishop Berhaneyesus Souraphiel

Third on the list of new cardinals announced by Pope Francis on January 4 is Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, 66, of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. Archbishop Souraphiel’s predecessor...

Vatican conference on Haiti earthquake reconstruction

Five years after an earthquake devastated the Caribbean nation of Haiti, the Vatican is hosting a conference devoted to reconstruction and the Church’s charitable efforts. In convoking the...

Ethiopian cardinal-designate wants Catholic bishops represented in African Union

Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel of Addis Ababa, who will receive a cardinal's red hat at the February consistory, has promised to work for official recognition of the Catholic Church by...

Up to 2,000 killed in new Boko Haram attacks in northern Nigeria

As many as 2,000 people have been killed, and several churches burned, in the latest attacks by Boko Haram on Christian villages in Nigeria, the Fides news service reports. The attacks occurred...

Italian cardinal, political leader react differently to French terror attack

The president of the Italian bishops’ conference has challenged responsible Muslim officials to condemn political violence, while a conservative political leader has suggested that the Vatican...

Battle with Islamic State taxes the resources of Iraqi Kurds

Father Bernardo Cervellera, the director of the AsiaNews service, reports on the plight of the Iraqi Kurds. Caught between hostile neighbors in Iraq and Turkey, the Kurds have fought for...

The Spirit routs fear, Pope tells congregation

Only the prompting of the Holy Spirit can enable the believer to see God as the Father, Pope Francis told the congregation at the Domus Sanctae Marthae at morning Mass on January 9. “You can...

Archbishop Romero died for faith, theologians find

A Vatican-appointed panel of theologians has certified that Archbishop Oscar Romero was killed "in hatred of the faith," the Italian daily Avvenire has reported. That decision would move...

Vatican overturns Chaldean Patriarch's suspension of priests who fled Islamic State

The Vatican has overturned a ruling by Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, lifting the suspension of Chaldean priests who fled Iraq after the Islamic State came to power. The...

First Things editor rejects blogger's attack on Pope Francis

The editor of First Things has distanced himself from the views expressed in a blog post by a contributor to the magazine’s web site. R.R. Reno issued a statement responding to criticism roused...

Released Monday, Jan. 12

Cardinal Müller to meet with group of European bishops

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will travel to Hungary for a meeting with the presidents of the doctrinal commissions of Europe’s bishops’...

Rebuilding Haiti rests on ‘3 solid pillars,’ says Pope

Marking the fifth anniversary of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Pope Francis told Haiti’s bishops and leaders of Catholic charities that “humanitarian and pastoral activities are not in competition with...

Pope baptizes 33 children

Pope Francis administered the Sacrament of Baptism to 33 children on January 11, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. During the Mass, which was celebrated ad orientem in the Sistine Chapel,...

Pope Francis: in Christ’s baptism, the heavens were opened

Pope Francis reflected on Christ’s baptism during his January 11 Angelus address. Speaking to the crowds that had gathered in St. Peter’s Square on a rainy day, the Pope said that “the time of...

In ‘state of the world’ address, Pope decries ‘throwaway culture’

During the annual papal address to ambassadors to the Holy See, Pope Francis decried the “‘throwaway culture’ which spares nothing and no one: nature, human beings, even God himself.” “From the...

Polish priest to lead Holy See’s UN mission in Vienna

Pope Francis has named Msgr. Janusz Urbanczyk, a Polish priest ordained in 1992, as the Holy See’s representative at UN offices in Vienna. Msgr. Urbanczyk previously worked in the Holy See’s...

Nigerian archbishop seeks worldwide response to terror killings in Africa, too

A Nigerian archbishop has challenged the West to show the same concern for murdered Christians in Africa as for slain journalists in Paris. Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos told a BBC broadcast...

Vatican will prosecute Italian man for repeated stunts on St. Peter's roof

The Vatican has decided to bring criminal charges against an Italian man who has climbed out onto the roof of St. Peter’s basilica five times in a bid to call attention to his complaints about...

Archbishop rips proposal to allow abortion of deformed children in Northern Ireland

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh has said that Church leaders will “be making a robust and unapologetic defense of the right to life of both mothers and their terminally ill children during...

Vatican denies reports of terrorism warning

A spokesman for the Holy See has denied media reports that the Vatican has been identified as the next likely target for terrorist attacks. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican...

Pope heads for Sri Lanka on 7th international journey

Pope Francis left Rome on Monday evening, January 12, to begin a week-long trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. The papal flight will arrive in Sri Lanka on Tuesday morning, local time. He will...

Pope weighing expansion of College of Cardinals?

Pope Francis is weighing a proposal to expand the College of Cardinals, the ANSA news service reports. According to ANSA, the Pope has received a suggestion from Cardinal Antonio Canizares...

Released Tuesday, Jan. 13

Newly published interview with Pope Francis on the economy

The Turin-based newspaper La Stampa has published an interview that two of its reporters, Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi, conducted with Pope Francis in October. The interview has also...

Holy See now has diplomatic relations with 180 nations

The Holy See now has diplomatic relations with 180 states, as well as with the European Union and Sovereign Military Order of Malta, according to a note from the Holy See Press Office. The Holy See...

Pope arrives in Sri Lanka, calls for reconciliation following civil war

Following a lengthy flight, Pope Francis arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on the first full day of his apostolic journey to Asia. The Pontiff will spend three days in Sri Lanka and four in the...

Indiana Supreme Court rules in favor of Catholic homeschooling group

The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that the Indiana Civil Rights Commission overstepped its bounds when it levied a $5,000 fine against a Catholic homeschooling group. In 2008, the Fishers...

Catechism translated into Farsi by Iranian scholars

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has been translated into Farsi (modern Persian), the official language of Iran and Afghanistan. The translation of the Catechism was unveiled at the...

Paris cardinal defends press freedom in wake of Charlie Hebdo shooting

In a message read at all Sunday Masses in Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois lamented the Charlie Hebdo shooting, paid tribute to the police, and defended freedom of the press. “A caricature, even...

Brunei bans Christmas displays

Brunei, a Muslim nation in Southeast Asia, has banned Christmas displays. Referring to “Christmas decorations such as Santa Claus figures, Christmas trees, banners displaying Christmas greetings,...

Inter-religious dialogue requires honesty about differences, Pope tells religious leaders in Sri Lanka

Pope Francis concluded the 1st day of his visit to Sri Lanka on January 13 with an address to an inter-religious meeting, at which he said that dialogue will be productive only “if we are honest in...

Coptic Christians kidnapped; ISIS affiliate claims credit

Islamic militants identifying themselves as allies of the Islamic State have kidnapped either 20 or 21 Coptic Christians in Libya. The Al Arabiya news service reports that the Copts were seized...

European bishops should work together to renew missionary zeal, Pope says

Pope Francis has sent a message of greetings to representatives of the doctrinal commissions of the European bishops’ conferences, who are meeting this week in Esztergom, Hungary. The Pope said...

Released Wednesday, Jan. 14

Religious freedom in focus as Pope canonizes 1st saint of Sri Lanka

Pope Francis highlighted the importance of religious freedom as he presided on January 14 at the canonization of Sri Lanka’s first saint. At an outdoor Mass in Colombo, with several hundred...

Mary forgave those who killed Jesus, Pope reminds people of war-torn Sri Lanka

Continuing to press for reconciliation in Sri Lanka, Pope Francis traveled into the territory of minority Tamils on January 14, to pray at a beloved Marian shrine and plead for...

Kenya: tests show no sterilization agent in tetanus vaccine

New tests of a controversial vaccine in Kenya have shown that it does not cause sterilization of woman. Last year the Catholic bishops of Kenya denounced a government-backed vaccination campaign,...

Venezuelan bishops blame Marxist government for national crisis

The Catholic bishops of Venezuela have issued a statement charging that the country’s economic crisis can be attributed to the failures of a “politico-economic system of a socialist, marxist, or...

Scottish archbishop works to restore confidence after cardinal's forced resignation

A Scottish archbishop has acknowledged that he faces a “delicate” task in restoring confidence after the resignation of a cardinal charged with sexual misconduct. “Time is a great healer,”...

India's dalits reportedly leaving Christianity, returning to Hindu roots

In India there have been many reports recently that Christian dalits-- members of what was the lowest class, the “untouchables” in the old caste system—have left the faith, returning to their Hindu...

Iraq's Chaldean Patriarch denies approving plan for mass emigration

The Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Babylon has denied reports that Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako approved plans for a massive move of 13,000 Iraqi Christians to Canada and Germany. In a...

Bishops in Central African Republic find some progress toward peace, but violence continues

The Catholic bishops of the Central African Republic report that the country’s security situation has improved, but unacceptable levels of violence remain. In a statement entitled “Therefore...

Released Thursday, Jan. 15

Canonization this year for Bl. Junipero Serra

In a surprise announcement, Pope Francis has disclosed that he plans to preside at the canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra this year. Speaking to reporters who accompanied him on a flight from...

Pope arrives in Philippines on 2nd stage of Asian trip

Pope Francis arrived in Manila on Thursday afternoon, January 15, on the 2nd stage of his trip to Asia. The Pope left Colombo, Sri Lanka, early in the morning. After brief stops at the Benedict...

Vatican, Serbia enter new accord on higher education

The Vatican has reached a new diplomatic accord with the Republic of Serbia. The agreement, which was signed last June but came into effect on January 12, governs the collaboration of Church and...

Pope sends message of appreciation to outgoing Italian President Napolitano

Pope Francis has sent a message of appreciation of Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano, who announced his resignation this week. In a telegram sent from the papal plane, as he traveled in Asia,...

Delhi: another Catholic church vandalized

Church officials in Delhi, India, have announced the vandalization of another church: the 4th such incident in the past six weeks. Security cameras at Our Lady of Graces church showed a man...

Pope addresses limits of free speech, climate change, in new interview

Pope Francis said that freedom of speech should not be exploited to mock religious faiths, and that human beings are largely responsible for climate change, during an in-flight exchange with...

Charlie Hebdo rejects Catholic support

The editors of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have announced that they do not want the support of the Catholic Church in the wake of a massacre at their offices in Paris. In an...

Saudis building security wall along border with Islamic State

The government of Saudi Arabia is building a security wall, several hundred miles long, along the country’s border with territory now controlled by the Islamic State. Saudi leaders plan several...

Egypt's Coptic leader laments Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros has expressed his distaste for the anti-Muslim cartoons published by the French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo. “I refuse any form of personal insult,” said...

Bankruptcy court approves reorganization plan for Montana diocese

A federal bankruptcy court has approved plans for reorganizing the finances of the Diocese of Helena, Montana. The reorganization plan will now be presented to creditors for their approval. The...

Archbishop argues against change in Northern Ireland abortion law

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh met on January 15 with David Ford, justice minister of Northern Ireland, to discuss proposals for a liberalization of abortion laws. The archbishop, who led a...

Released Friday, Jan. 16

Cardinal Müller concludes meeting with group of European bishops

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has concluded a three-day meeting in Hungary with the presidents of the doctrinal commissions of Europe’s...

Pope arrives in Philippines, calls for solidarity with the poor

Pope Francis arrived in the Philippines on the evening of January 15 and was welcomed at the presidential palace the following morning. “My visit is above all pastoral,” the Pope said. “It comes...

Be ambassadors of Christ, Pope tells priests and religious

Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Manila’s cathedral on January 16 and called upon the bishops, priests, seminarians, and religious who were present to be ambassadors of Christ. “All pastoral...

Judge reduces award in Indiana diocese’s IVF case

A federal judge has reduced the damages levied against the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend in the case of a Catholic school teacher whose contract was not renewed after her use of in vitro...

USCCB committee calls for patience with Iran in nuclear negotiations

In a letter to the leaders of three congressional committees, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace called for patience with...

Vatican spokesman clarifies Pope’s remarks on blasphemy

Father Thomas Rosica of the Holy See Press Office has issued a statement clarifying Pope Francis’s remarks on freedom of speech and blasphemy. The Pope compared mockery of religion to insulting...

Pope defends Humanae Vitae, raps redefinition of family

Pope Francis made a strong defense of Catholic teachings on marriage in an address to families in the Philippines on January 16. The Pope warned against “the new ideological colonization that...

Supreme Court will rule on same-sex marriage

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear four cases involving state recognition of same-sex marriage, setting the stage for a ruling that could confirm or deny the authority of states to redefine...

Minnesota archdiocese files for bankruptcy

The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota, has filed for bankruptcy protection, becoming the 12th Catholic diocese in the US to take that step in the wake of the sex-abuse scandal. The...

After greeting Pope, Filipino leader lashes out at Catholic bishops

After welcoming Pope Francis to the Philippines on January 15, the country’s president lashed out at Catholic prelates the following day, charging that Church officials have been unduly critical of...

Malawi: Catholic bishop dies in auto accident

Bishop Joseph Mukasa Zuza of Mzuzu, Malawi, was killed in a car accident on January 15. The bishop was driving his own vehicle at the time of the crash. His car rolled over, and he was thrown...

Released Saturday, Jan. 17

Braving a tropical storm, Pope visits typhoon survivors in Philippines

Pope Francis braved a storm on January 17 to travel to the island of Leyte for an emotional meeting with survivors of typhoon Yolanda. But the Pontiff was forced to cut short his visit as another...

Released Monday, Jan. 19

Joint Lutheran-Catholic ecumenical event announced for fall 2016

The Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity have announced that they will hold a joint ecumenical event in fall 2016 “to express the joint gifts received...

Background: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

In 1908, Rev. Paul Wattson, then an Anglican religious in Graymoor, New York, began a Church Unity Octave with the support of Anglican and Catholic prelates, including Cardinal William O’Connell of...

Pope addresses question: ‘Why do children suffer?’

After listening to questions from youth, one of whom spoke about life as a street child, Pope Francis departed from his prepared text and spoke about the suffering of children during his January 18...

‘Largest event in the history of the popes’: at least 6 million attend Mass in Manila

An estimated six to seven million people attended Sunday Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at Rizal Park in Manila on January 18. “If this is true, and we think it is, this is the largest event in...

Secretary of pontifical council transferred to Italian diocese

Pope Francis has named Bishop Mario Toso, a Salesian who has served as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace since 2009, as the new bishop of Faenza-Modigliana, Italy. The...

Pope establishes Eastern Catholic church for Eritrea

Pope Francis has established a new Eastern Catholic church for Eritrea-- the first Eastern Catholic church formally erected since the early 20th century. According to the Code of Canons of the...

Iraqi prelate challenges Muslim leaders to fight radical Islamic ideology

Iraq’s leading Catholic prelate has issued a plea for responsible Islamic leaders to join in the task of “dismantling” radical jihadist ideology. Patriarch Raphael Louis I Sako of the Chaldean...

Confirmed: Pope will visit New York, Washington in September

Pope Francis has confirmed that he plans to visit Washington, DC, and New York as well as Philadelphia during a trip to the US in September. During a session with reporters aboard his plane as he...

Hindus claim 'reconversion' of 100 Christians in Indian villages

Hindu nationalists in India’s state of Kerela have reported that more than 100 people renounced Christianity and returned to their Hindu roots, in two separate ceremonies on January 18. The Hindu...

Birth control, 'ideological colonization' are topics as Pope speaks with reporters

Pope Francis spoke about birth control, responsible parenthood, and “ideological colonization” during an exchange with reporters as he flew from the Philippines to Rome on January 19. The Pope...

Missouri bishop objects to Catholic hospitals' choice to extend employee benefits to same-sex partners

A Missouri bishop has said that he is “deeply concerned” about the announcement that a Catholic health-care system has decided to extend employee benefits to same-sex couples. Bishop James...

Chaldean Patriarch reported to dispute Vatican ruling overturning his order

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has challenged a Vatican decision overruling his order for Chaldean priests to return to Iraq, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. The...

Released Tuesday, Jan. 20

New report highlights rising economic inequality

If current trends continue, the wealthiest 1% of the world’s population will have more combined wealth than the other 99% in 2016, according to a report highlighted by the Vatican newspaper in its...

Europe: some politicians opposed amendment on protecting Christians in Libya

A coalition of Green and Socialist party politicians attempted to block a European Parliament resolution calling for the protection of Christians and other religious minorities in Libya, according...

Orthodox officials warn against caricatures of Muhammad

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting, the Georgian Orthodox Church has condemned “caricatures insulting the Muslims’ religious feelings,” and a leading Russian Orthodox official warned against...

At least 45 churches attacked in Niger

On the weekend of January 16-18, Catholic parishes, houses of religious orders, and Protestant churches were attacked in different parts of the West African nation of Niger in response to European...

British PM comments on Pope’s remarks on blasphemy

British Prime Minister David Cameron appeared on the CBS political interview show “Face the Nation” and addressed a question on Pope Francis’s recent remarks on blasphemy. Cameron was asked, “The...

On return from Philippines, Pope prays at St. Mary Major

Following what has become his regular practice, Pope Francis visited the basilica of St. Mary Major on Monday afternoon, January 19, to pray before the image of the Virgin Mary Salus populi Romani...

US Supreme Court declines to hear appeal of Louisiana case challenging confessional seal

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a Louisiana ruling that would force a Catholic priest to disclose what he heard in a sacramental confession or face imprisonment. Last May,...

Crimea: Catholic convent closed; nuns denied residency permits

A Catholic convent in the Crimean capital city of Simferopol has been closed, after the three sister who lived there were denied extensions of their residence permits, the Forum 18 news service...

Released Wednesday, Jan. 21

New cardinal profile: Archbishop John Dew

Fourth on the list of new cardinals announced by Pope Francis on January 4 is Archbishop John Dew, 66, of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital. The prelate’s three predecessors were also...

Russian Orthodox support for Muslim protest against Muhammad caricatures

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims took to the streets in Grozny, the capital city of the Chechen Republic in Russia, to protest the publication of caricatures of Muhammad by the French magazine...

Bishop laments indifference to fate of Syrian, Iraqi Christians

The Eastern-rite bishop responsible for ministering to Syriac Catholics in the United States and Canada lamented Western political indifference to the fate of Syrian and Iraqi Christians. “You...

Final court loss for Malaysian Catholics in Allah dispute

Malaysia’s weekly Catholic newspaper has lost its last legal challenge to a ban on the publication’s use of the word “Allah” to refer to God. The Malaysian Insider reported that the ruling...

Leading Ukrainian prelate speaks of ‘continuous’ prayer for nation’s troops

Blessing army uniforms, boots, and other supplies outside his cathedral, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said that the Church is offering continuous prayer for the nation’s troops,...

Pope laments attacks on Christians in Niger

Decrying attacks on Christians in Niger, Pope Francis said at his January 21 general audience that “war must not be waged in the name of God.” Catholic parishes, houses of religious orders, and...

New director of Vatican’s Financial Information Authority

Pope Francis has named Tommaso Di Ruzza as the new director of the Financial Information Authority, a Vatican body created in 2010 to combat illegal financial activities. Until his appointment, Di...

Pope names members of new body that will judge abuse cases

Pope Francis has named the members of a new body of cardinals and bishops who, under the auspices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), will judge cases involving the sexual abuse...

Irish bishop pleads with IRA to disclose site of slain boy's grave

Bishop Liam MacDaid of Clogher, Ireland has issued an appeal to leaders of the Irish Republic Army (IRA) to reveal where a teenage boy was buried after his death in 1975. Columba McVeigh, a...

Pope will visit Iraq, nuncio predicts

Pope Francis is likely to visit Iraq, according to the apostolic nuncio there, although no plans for a papal visit have been made to date. “The Holy Father is expected in Iraq, both by the Church...

Indiana diocese asks court to dismiss verdict in teacher's IVF case

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, has asked a court to dismiss a jury’s decision granting a large financial settlement to a Catholic-school teacher who said she was wrongfully dismissed...

Nigerian bishop seeks international military action against Boko Haram

A Catholic bishop in northeastern Nigeria has called for international military action to stop the terrorist offensive of Boko Haram. Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme, whose Maiduguri diocese has felt...

Large families are a blessing, Pope tells Wednesday audience

Pope Francis told his public audience on January 21 that he found it refreshing to meet parents in the Philippines who “know that every child is a blessing.” Commenting on his trip to the...

Pope blesses lambs, following tradition for feast of St. Agnes

Before his regular weekly general audience on Wednesday, January 21, Pope Francis blessed two lambs, following an annual tradition for the feast of St. Agnes. The wool shorn from these lambs will...

Wine experts gather for papal audience

Italian vintners and wine experts met with Pope Francis after his regular weekly public audience on January 21, and presented the Pontiff with a tastevin, the silver cup used by professional...

1st-century Gospel text found in mummy's mask?

Archeologists are expecting the publication of what could be the oldest known copy of one of the Gospels. The fragmentary text, taken from the Gospel of St. Mark, was reportedly discovered on a...

Hindu group proposes bar on religious conversions in India

A Hindu nationalist party has called for the adoption of a law restricting religious conversions in India. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) proposal was brought forward by leaders of the group as...

Vatican officials meet with counterparts from World Council of Churches

Vatican officials met with representatives of the World Council of Churches (WCC) on January 20, for an exchange of information on plans for the coming year. The Pontifical Council for...

Burundi radio host arrested after airing confession of man who said he killed Italian missionary nun

Police in Burundi have arrested the host of a popular radio show, after he aired the confession of a man who said he had been involved in the murder of three Italian missionary nuns last...

Released Thursday, Jan. 22

New cardinal profile: Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli

Fifth on the list of new cardinals announced by Pope Francis on January 4 is Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli, 75, of Ancona-Osimo, Italy. Ancona is small city of 100,000 and the capital of the eastern...

USCCB: Supreme Court decision on Muslim prisoner is ‘great victory for religious freedom’

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty has welcomed Holt v. Hobb, the unanimous Supreme Court decision in favor of a Muslim inmate...

Cardinal calls for passage of Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Citing the Kermit Gosnell case, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, called upon Congress to pass the...

Catholic parishes in Crimea re-register with Russian authorities

Heeding Russian law, the Diocese of Odessa-Simferopol, whose territory includes Crimea, has reregistered its parishes with the Russian government. “Today we sent the documents to Moscow and are...

India's bishops appeal to prime minister: save secular society

India’s Catholic bishops have made an urgent plea to Prime Minister Narendara Modi to uphold the secular character of the country. The bishops, led by Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Catholicos,...

Top Malaysian prelate shaken by court ruling against Christian use of 'Allah'

Archbishop Julian Leow Kim of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has expressed keen disappointment at a court ruling that prohibits Christians from using the word “Allah” to identify God, saying that the...

Papal thanks for Vatican security officials

Pope Francis met on January 22 with members of the Vatican’s General Inspectorate for Public Security, thanking them for conducting their daily work “with professionalism and dedication.” The...

Finnish Lutheran delegation meets with Pontiff

Welcoming a delegation of Finnish Lutherans to the Vatican on January 22, Pope Francis remarked: “A shared Christian witness is very much needed in the face of the mistrust, insecurity, persecution,...

Republicans drop plans to push pro-life bill in US House of Representatives

Republican leaders in the US House of Representatives have pulled back from plans to pass legislation that would have banned abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. In a stunning political...

Kenyan bishops remain leery of vaccination campaign

The Catholic bishops of Kenya remain concerned about a vaccination campaign sponsored by the World Health Organization, despite preliminary tests that seemed to quell fears that the vaccine included...

Jordan's King Abdullah backs Pope's statement on respect for religion

Jordan’s King Abdullah II has praised Pope Francis for his insistence that religious beliefs should be treated with respect, the Fides news service reports. King Abdullah endorsed the Pope’s...

Salvation, not healing or teaching, is Christ's greatest gift, Pope tells congregation

In his homily at a daily Mass at the Vatican on January 22, Pope Francis reminded the congregation that although Jesus can bring relief to those who suffer, the most important reality is that Jesus...

French bishop resigns after furor in diocese

Bishop Jean-Marie Le Vert of Quimper, France, has resigned, the Vatican has announced. A brief announcement on January 22 indicated that Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the French...

Vatican cardinal meets with Vietnamese political leaders

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, met with Vietnamese government officials as he continued a pastoral visit to the Asian...

Cardinal Marx speaks on Pope Francis' leadership, Synod debate on marriage

“This whole pontificate has opened new paths,” Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich told an American Jesuit publication. Cardinal Marx, a member of the Council of Cardinals, spoke at length about...

'Absurd' to see conflict between Benedict XVI, Francis, says Archbishop Gänswein

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who has served as private secretary to both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, has said that it is “absurd” to believe that there are disagreements between the two...

All Sri Lankans-- not just Catholics-- welcomed papal visit, bishop reports

The visit to Sri Lanka by Pope Francis was welcomed not only by Catholics, but by the entire diverse population of the country, Bishop Valence Mendis of Chilaw told Aid to the Church in...

Vatican Museums experts discover fake mummies in collection

Researchers at the Vatican Museums have discovered that two mummies in the Vatican collection are fakes. Alessia Amenta, the curator of the museum’s collection of Egyptian antiquities, told the...

Released Friday, Jan. 23

1.6 million have abandoned homes because of Boko Haram

An estimated 1.6 million Nigerians have fled their homes in the wake of the advance of the Islamist militant organization Boko Haram, according to the Associated Press. Most have fled to other...

Vatican newspaper: time between the 2 synods is one of ‘reception, deepening’

The year between the extraordinary and ordinary synods of bishops on the family is a time of “reception” and “deepening,” according to a front-page article that appeared in the January 23 edition of...

Church in Niger suspends operation of schools, other apostolates

Citing the widespread destruction of churches and other Catholic institutions and the general situation of insecurity, the bishops of Niger have indefinitely suspended the operation of all Catholic...

Religious leaders call for renewed US effort for 2-state solution in Middle East

A group of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders has called upon President Barack Obama to “work with Israel and [the] Palestinian Authority to achieve a negotiated two-state peace agreement before...

President Obama: abortion is a ‘core constitutional right’

In a January 22 statement, President Barack Obama described Roe v. Wade as “a decision that protects a woman’s freedom to make her own choices about her body and her health, and reaffirms a...

Pope Francis reflects on the family and communication

In his message for the World Day of Social Communications, which will take place in May, Pope Francis reflected on the encounter between the Blessed Virgin Mary and her cousin Elizabeth in...

22 martyrs recognized; causes of US-born priest, others advance

In an audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on January 22, Pope Francis approved a decree on a miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Maria Teresa...

Do not let legalism block access to salvation, Pope tells tribunal judges

In a January 23 address to officials of the Roman Rota, Pope Francis reminded the judges and advocates that the highest priority of canon law is the salvation of souls. As is customary, the Pope...

Red hat is not a 'prize,' Pope reminds new cardinals

In a letter to each of the prelates who will be elevated to the College of Cardinals at the February consistory, Pope Francis has remembered them that a red hat should not be seen as “a prize, or...

Chinese bishop says Church should take initiative to end conflict with Beijing

A Chinese bishop of the “underground” Church faithful to Rome has said that the Vatican should take the first step to resolve a long-running conflict with the Beijing regime. In an interview...

Beatification cause opened for Focolare founder Chiara Lubich

Bishop Raffaello Martinelli of Frascati, Italy, has formally opened a cause for the beatification of Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focolare movement. Born in 1920 in Trent, Sylvia Lubich (as...

Syrian priest raps Western silence after car-bomb kills 15 in Homs

A Syrian Catholic priest has blasted the silence of the Western media after 15 people were killed, and 50 others wounded, by a car-bomb explosion in the center of the city of Homs. Father Hilal...

Republicans now outnumber Democrats among Catholics in US House of Representatives

In the 114th Congress, Catholic Republicans outnumber Catholic Democrats in the House of Representatives, 69 to 68, the Pew Research Center reports. Although the margin is minimal, the trend is...

Released Monday, Jan. 26

Pope on Catholic-Muslim dialogue: listen and study, but avoid syncretism

Listening and thorough study are important components of dialogue with Muslims, Pope Francis said to participants in a January 24 meeting organized by the Pontifical Institute for Arab and Islamic...

Conversion, prayer, holiness necessary for Christian unity, says Pope

Pope Francis met with participants in an ecumenical gathering of religious on January 24 and said that “religious life has a particular vocation” to promote Christian unity. The gather was...

Papal praise for 2005 document on nullity cases

The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts’ 2005 document Dignitas Connubii remains a “modest but useful vademecum that really takes the ministers of the tribunals by the hand toward the...

Pope Francis: in Jesus, man’s thirst and God’s thirst meet

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Mk. 1:14-20), Pope Francis said during his January 25 Angelus address that “Jesus' announcement is similar to that of John, with the major difference that...

Pope concludes Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Pope Francis concluded the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with the celebration of Vespers on January 25 at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls and reflected on the encounter of Jesus with...

Notre Dame’s Father McBrien dead at 78

Father Richard McBrien, who chaired the University of Notre Dame’s theology department for 11 years, died on January 25 at the age of 78. While his public influence was significant--not only...

China planning illicit ordination of more bishops for 'official' Church?

The Chinese government’s bureau of religious affairs plans to organize the ordination of more Catholic bishops without Vatican approval in 2015, the AsiaNews service reports. The move would...

Russian Patriarch calls for abortion ban in first-ever address to Duma

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill suggested a nationwide campaign against legal abortion, as he addressed Russia’s legislative body, the Duma. The Patriarch’s speech was the first ever delivered...

English doctor faces charges for sex-selection abortion

A doctor in Birmingham, England, will face criminal charges for offering to perform a sex-selection abortion. On January 26 a Birmingham court ordered Dr. Palaniappan Rajmohan to answer the...

Catholic priests playing politics, Belarus government official charges

The Commissioner for Religions and Nationalities in Belarus has charged that Polish-born Catholic priests are engaged in political activities, and therefore have been denied permission to remain in...

Vatican tradition ended: balloons released in place of doves

The Vatican has altered a traditional gesture—the release of doves in St. Peter’s Square—after complaints from animal-rights groups. For years, on the last Sunday of January, the Pope has been...

Impartial judgment is key for marriage tribunals, Pope tells canonists

Pope Francis stressed the importance of impartial judgment by marriage tribunals, as he spoke on January 24 to participants in a canon-law seminar. The meeting, co-sponsored by the Pontifical...

Catholic Relief Services charged with support for program that promotes contraception

The Lepanto Institute has reported evidence that Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the overseas aid agency of the US bishops’ conference, provided support for a sex-education program that encouraged...

Prosecutors find no misconduct in case that caused removal of pastor, school principal

In Revere, Massachusetts, police and prosecutors have said that they found no evidence of wrongdoing in a case that has led to the forced resignation of a Catholic pastor, the principal of the...

Death-penalty opponents excluded from jury in 'Marathon bombing' trial

Jury selection for the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect in the “Marathon Bombings” that shook Boston in 2013, has prompted a controversy over the exclusion of those who object to the death...

New papal plea for peace in Ukraine

Pope Francis renewed his plea for peace in Ukraine, at the conclusion of his Sunday public audience on January 25. The Pope said that he has been following “with deep concern the escalation of...

Spokane diocese settles lawsuit against law firm that handled bankruptcy

The Diocese of Spokane, Washington, has reached an out-of-court settlement with the law firm that represented the diocese in bankruptcy proceedings. The diocese had brought a malpractice suit...

Judge orders mediation in bankruptcy case of Minnesota archdiocese

A judge in federal bankruptcy court has ordered the Archdiocese of St. Paul- Minneapolis to go to mediation with creditors— led by sex-abuse victims—in hopes of avoiding a costlier legal...

Released Tuesday, Jan. 27

Egypt: church attacked on 4th anniversary of ‘Arab Spring’

Four years after the Arab Spring uprising that led to the overthrow of longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood took to the streets against the current...

Bishop: northeastern Nigeria could fall to Boko Haram

The Islamist terrorist movement Boko Haram has captured Monguno, a city of 100,000 in northeastern Nigeria, and has launched attacks against Maiduguri, a city of 1.2 million. “We find ourselves...

Increased religious repression reported in Cuba

Violations of religious freedom in Cuba increased in 2014, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a UK-based organization that advocates on behalf of persecuted Christians. “Week after...

Mexican, Central American bishops to discuss plight of migrants

The bishops of Mexico and four Central American nations will begin a three-day meeting on January 28 to discuss the plight of those seeking to enter the United States. “We are saddened and...

Russian patriarch: revive positive aspects of Communist era

In an address to Russia’s parliament, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church called for a revival of what he sees as the positive aspects of the nation’s Communist era, which lasted until...

Senegal’s bishops denounce religious violence, caricatures of Muhammad

The bishops of the West African nation of Senegal have issued a statement denouncing religious violence and caricatures of the founder of Islam. “We strongly condemn the murderous violence of...

1st female bishop ordained for Church of England

In a ceremony that took place on January 26, Libby Lane became the Church of England’s first female bishop. Referring to the Ugandan-born Anglican archbishop of York, Lane said that “Archbishop...

Confront indifference to God and neighbor, Pope says in 2015 Lenten message

The Holy See Press Office has released the text of Pope Francis’s 2015 Lenten message. Entitled “Make Your Hearts Firm”-- a reference to a verse in the Letter of St. James-- the message, dated...

February 8 designated day of prayer, awareness against human trafficking

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General have designated February 8 as the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human...

Peruvian bishop: government must protect judges after death threats from drug gangs

A Peruvian bishop has called upon the government to provide protection for judges, the Fides news service reports, after several jurists received death threats from drug-trafficking...

Pope reportedly meets with Spanish transsexual

Pope Francis met privately with a Spanish transsexual who had written to complain about having been banished from his parish church, according to the Spanish daily Hoy. Diego Neria Lejarraga, who...

Swiss court rules Vatican bank must turn over account information to Italian prosecutors

A court in Switzerland has ruled that Italian prosecutors should have access to information about an account held by the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). The Swiss federal...

Italian bishops' conference leader calls for quick election of new Italian president

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the president of the Italian bishops’ conference, has called for the prompt election of a new Italian president following the resignation of Giorgio Napolitano. In an...

Bishops in Niger appeal to Muslims for solidarity after attacks on churches

The Catholic bishops of Niger have reached out to Muslims to strengthen inter-religious bonds after a series of violent attacks on Christian churches, the Fides news service reports. "We want to...

Malaysian archbishop assures faithful: 'Allah' can still be used in worship

Archbishop Julian Leow of Kuala Lumpur has written a pastoral letter to assure the Catholics of Malaysia that a legal ban on the use of the word “Allah” applies only to the Catholic newspaper, not...

Released Wednesday, Jan. 28

Church burned down in India

A Protestant church in the southern Indian state of Telangana was set on fire on January 16, according to multiple reports. “Activists have threatened me and warned me not to continue the church...

Cardinal welcomes House passage of pro-life legislation

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has welcomed the House of Representatives’ passage of the No...

Ivory Coast’s bishops lament ritual sacrifice of children

Declaring that their nation is “sick at a spiritual and moral level,” the bishops of Ivory Coast denounced the ritual sacrifice of children. A report from the Reuters news agency linked a recent...

California judges barred from work with Boy Scouts

The California Supreme Court has voted to bar state judges from joining nonprofit youth organizations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. “Although the court's unanimous...

Bishop defends CCHD-funded group

A New Mexico bishop has come to the defense of Comunidades en Acción y de Fé (CAFé), a faith-based organization that, at his recommendation, receives funding from the US bishops’ Catholic Campaign...

Pope laments absence of fathers from families

Stating that the absence of fathers can produce “wounds which may be very serious,” Pope Francis devoted his January 28 general audience to fatherhood. The word “Father,” he said, is particularly...

Vatican offices adapting to new financial regulations

All Vatican offices are now obliged to follow new regulations governing financial transactions, the Vatican Insider notes. Implementing the new rules, which call for a full accounting for all...

Eastern Christian leaders plea: help for refugees, end support for terrorism

Leaders of the Eastern Christian community met in Bkerke, Lebanon on January 27, and released a joint statement urging international support for the Christian refugees in the Middle East. The...

Pope changes another tradition: each new archbishop will receive pallium in his own archdiocese

Pope Francis has decided that each newly appointed metropolitan archbishop should be formally vested with the pallium at a ceremony in his own archdiocese, rather than the ceremony traditionally...

Released Thursday, Jan. 29

New cardinal profile: Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon

Sixth on the list of new cardinals announced by Pope Francis on January 4 is Archbishop Pierre (Phero) Nguyen Van Nhon, 76, of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. Three of his four predecessors were...

Sri Lanka cardinal praises new government

Sri Lanka’s leading prelate praised the nation’s new president, Maithripala Sirisena, for his efforts to promote religious harmony. Sirisena has appointed a Buddhist, a Hindu, and a Catholic to...

Appeal from Caritas for Malawi flood victims

Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, has issued an appeal on behalf of flood victims in the African nation of Malawi. 120,000 people have had to...

New film on Pius XII and the Jews

A new film, Shades of Truth, highlights Venerable Pius XII’s efforts to assist Jews during the Holocaust. The film will be previewed at the Vatican on March 2, according to L’Osservatore Romano,...

Obama calls for religious tolerance, respect for religious freedom in India

In a visit to India, now governed by a Hindu nationalist party, President Barack Obama issued a call for greater respect for religious freedom. “We remember the wisdom of Gandhiji, who said, ‘For...

3 more companies exempted from HHS mandate

Citing the US Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, a federal court in Colorado has barred enforcement of the HHS mandate against three companies. The three are Continuum Health Partnerships,...

Salvation is individual, but not a private affair, Pope says in homily

Salvation is an individual matter, but anyone who is interested only in his personal salvation is “going along the wrong path,” Pope Francis said in a homily at daily Mass on June 29. Jesus does...

Myanmar: government orders removal of 'illegal' cross

Christians in Myanmar are distressed by the prosecution of a man who erected a 50-foot cross on a hill in the city of Hakha, the Fides news service reports. Tial Cem could face two years in...

Archbishop Cordileone launches effort to promote Catholic identity in San Francisco archdiocesan high schools

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco is undertaking a study to determine how well archdiocesan high schools promote the Catholic faith. “We hear stories of children going through 12...

Egypt's new government allows Christians to build new churches, ending years of opposition

Egyptian Christians have seen notable gains under the government of President Abd al-Sisi, the spokesman for the country’s bishops tells the AsiaNews service. Father Rafic Greiche pointed to...

Released Friday, Jan. 30

New cardinal profile: Archbishop Alberto Suárez Inda

Seventh on the list of new cardinals announced by Pope Francis on January 4 is Archbishop Alberto Suárez Inda, 76, of Morelia, a city of 730,000 that is capital of the western Mexican state of...

Carmelite priest to preach Lenten retreat for Pope, Curia

Father Bruno Secondin, a Carmelite priest who teaches at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, will preach the Lenten retreat to Pope Francis and the members of the Roman Curia. The...

Christian school attacked in Pakistan

Over 200 Muslim students, angered by caricatures of Muhammad in a Parisian publication, attacked a Christian boys’ school in Pakistan and demanded its closure, according to Agence...

Venezuelan bishop victim of armed robbery

A bishop and 50 priests and parishioners were victims of an armed robbery at a parish in Puerto Ordaz, a city of 600,000 in Venezuela. Three masked men entered the parish auditorium, and Bishop...

Myanmar: authorities order removal of cross

Authorities in Chin State, which is located in western Myanmar (Burma), have ordered the removal of a hillside cross that is 16 feet tall. Tial Cem, who constructed the cross and is refusing to...

Canadian court backs Christian law school in homosexuality dispute

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has ruled that graduates of Trinity Western University’s law school are permitted to practice law in Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society had forbidden...

Vatican conference addresses evangelization in Europe

Addressing participants in a 3-day conference on evangelization in Europe, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, said:...

Vatican document critical of cosmetic surgery

A new Vatican document on women takes a critical look at cosmetic plastic surgery, the Crux web site reports. The rising popularity of cosmetic surgery, the document says, may reflect an...

Pope speaks of 'deep sadness' over suffering of Christians in Iraq, Syria

Pope Francis reiterated his “dismay and deep sadness” over the continued bloodshed in Iraq and Syria, during a January 30 meeting with ecumenical representatives of the Oriental Orthodox...

Pope's prayer intentions for February 2015

The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for February 2015. The Pope’s general intention for February is: “That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild...

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